Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2014

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care..."
All 15 stockings for our 15 family members, even though our 7 children from the Philippines were not here this year to celebrate with us. 
Wow! Look at all those stockings! We are BLESSED! (I had to blur out the names of our children that we are adopting because of Hague country rules of privacy)

This year, the girls and the boys worked together to create their own gingerbread houses.
 And, all the kids made a BUNCH of Christmas cookies to share with some of our neighbors. The pictures below show them decorating the Christmas cut-out cookies (they are the funnest for the kids). We also made date snowballs, lemon bars, mint chocolate crinkles, and peanut butter candy.

It is such joy for me to see the kids carrying on the same traditions as my family did growing up.

Christmas Eve we went to a candle light service at church singing all sorts of celebratory Christmas carols and making sure to remember how Jesus came as a light into the darkness. It was such a beautiful reminder of how that light pierces the darkness and spreads from one person to another. I remember doing the same thing at our Christmas services growing up.

Another tradition we started as a family a couple years ago was making a birthday cake and singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus; after all, He is the reason for the season!

For Christmas, Dustin and the older kids gave me this BEAUTIFUL breakfast/kitchen table that they MADE for me! Isn't it gorgeous? It works perfect in my kitchen!

Dustin and the kids made me a huge breadbox last year. I love that my husband takes the kids out into the workshop and helps them work with their hands. What a great memory for the kids with their dad. The kids spent a great deal of time sanding this project, and I LOVE all the time and love that went into this present for me.
They used four different types of wood to build this table. Do you see the cross in the top? I absolutely love this present. Hand-made presents are THE BEST!
 The kids were very excited to open their gifts (as you can see from Markos' picture).

 We are blessed to have Dustin's parents and his grandfather live close by; so, they come over Christmas morning to participate in the excitement and enjoy a Christmas breakfast/brunch.

This year, our oldest three kids (that are home) had saved up money they had earned throughout the year, and we took them shopping. They were so excited to pick out presents for Dustin and I. The thought that went into the gifts and the joy they had to give to others was so precious.

The picture below is one of Dustin in the apron that Fasika picked out for him. She knew dad didn't have an apron for when he is cooking and grilling, and she takes care of the chickens which is why she picked the chicken one. I think it is absolutely adorable that Dustin rocked that apron all day. I don't know many dads that could pull that look off. I know I am a little biased, but he is a pretty awesome guy!
As a group gift this year, we got a basketball court for the family. One of our older boys in the Philippines absolutely loves to play basketball; it is his favorite thing to do. We figured, a basketball court would be a great way to spend quality family time with one another (and anyone who lives on a dirt road knows how hard it is to play basketball when you can't dribble). We are looking forward to many wonderful games of hoops as a family.
It was a wonderful Christmas for our family as we celebrated the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Of course, it was bitter sweet as our hearts ached for our other 7 children who are still not home. However, we know that the Lord's timing is perfect, and we trust in His plan. The staff where our kids are at are phenomenal, and I know they cherished the time and made it memorable for our children. We are very thankful for them. We know that our whole family will all be together next Christmas.

All our paperwork has been completed on our end. The kids have their passports. The only thing we are waiting on with our adoption is the kids Visa appointments and their exit medical appointments. We hope to have them home in the next month or two.

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